The Breakfast Club

It costs $2 to feed a hungry child breakfast, setting them up for a day of learning.

Breakfast Club of Canada needs more money to make sure kids don't start their school day hungry.

“We have programs in six Kelowna schools and we have a waiting list of 17 more schools,” said the club's B.C. coordinator Danelle Kvalheim.

“There is lots of need, and we'd love bring all schools on, but we won't add schools unless we know we can fully support it.”

So, Breakfast Club of Canada has partnered with both Costco and Walmart to accept donations to fund programs.

Costco will be accepting donations until Sept. 15 at all locations across Canada.

Walmart will be accepting donations between Sept. 12 and Oct. 4 at all its 408 stores coast-to-coast.

And you can donate anytime at BreakfastClubCanada.org.

All it takes is $2 to feed a hungry child breakfast and set them up for a day of learning.

“The programs are aimed at students who are not getting breakfast at home,” said Kvalheim.

“It's a safe and healthy place for kids to gather in the half-hour before school starts to have a nutritious breakfast. If kids are late, we also always have grab-and-go options, such as an apple and granola bar.”

Regular breakfasts can include eggs, cereal, toast, oatmeal, pancakes, yogurt and fresh fruit.

While programs are meant for kids in need, any child can eat.

“We don't want to cause stigma by pointing out kids in need,” said Kvalheim.

“They breakfasts can be set up in the cafeteria, hallway, a classroom or office. It's up to the school to pick a location that's convenient and safe.”

Breakfast Club of Canada does not provide the names of the six Kelowna schools it has partnered with for privacy reasons.

Currently, there are 300 students at six Kelowna schools accessing the free breakfasts.

The programs continue for all 165 days of the school year.

Based on those numbers, Breakfast Club of Canada is providing almost $100,000 a school year to help those 300 students.

“Schools apply for funding and we can provide some money directly to the school,” said Kvalheim.

“But we also work with Central Okanagan Food Banks to provide some breads and cereals for free to schools. And we also provide funding for the food bank so it can buy in bulk at discounted rates and provide the schools with whatever else they need.”

Breakfast Club of Canada's fundraising gets extra awareness because Montreal Canadiens superstar goalie Carey Price is the charity's ambassador.

The NHL's MVP promotes Breakfast Club of Canada and holds a big fundraiser every summer in Kelowna, which is his summer home.

Price has also appeared at Breakfast Club of Canada breakfasts at the school in Anahim Lake, where he was born and raised.

The club's programs are national.

However, for a news release kicking off the school year, the club provided B.C.-specific numbers.

For the 2018-19 school year, 1.45 million breakfasts were served to 8,812 children at 181 schools.

All those numbers are up about 14 per cent from the year before.

“We're always looking to add more schools, but we are never guaranteed funding,” said Kvalheim.

“That why our Back-to-School fundraising campaign is so important.”